Meditation teaches us how to trust the Lord.
When we cease to meditate, our focus shifts from trusting in God’s leading hand and toward reacting to circumstances. Circumstances should not be the driving force in our lives. Sometimes difficult situations arise that push us into a different direction, but there is always a reason behind it. Proverbs 16:7 tells us, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
God uses enemies to force us toward a better way, and prevent us from going the wrong way. The same goes for difficult situations. Problems are enemies to our peace, but sometimes God sacrifices our peace to bring about our good. That’s why the Bible says not to think it strange when we find ourselves in the midst of a fiery trial as though something strange has happened to us. We are told not to lament our trials, but to rejoice in what God is doing.
Easier said than done. That’s why I must meditate and seek understanding and not just look for a way out of the situation that bothers me.
The truth is that I can’t see the future. Nor can you. I make decisions based on what I think is best with the information at hand. Sometimes the things that look like a good decision turn out bad in the end. Was it foolishness? If I knowingly made a foolish decision, yes. But sometimes the direction I want to go looks like a wise decision when it is not. I can see the beginning of a course of action, and I can anticipate where I’m going based on life experiences. But when unforeseen circumstances await, I’m blindsided by problems I couldn’t have anticipated.
Our spiritual walk is much like this. However, the Bible tells us that God planned our life from the beginning of the world, so He knows the end result of every path. Even if I’m walking with godly motives, I still can make a choice that does not lead where God wants to take me. The true benefit is often on a path I would never have taken willingly. In this situation, my ways do not please the Lord. He has eternity in mind and will guide me to the right way. And sometimes God will force me to the right way. Often God raises up enemies to force us in a direction that may not look right but is the way of blessing.
Joseph is a good example of this. In the book of Genesis, God reveals a dream to Joseph that one day the sun, moon, and stars will bow down to him. He didn’t know it at the time, but the sun and moon referred to the religions of Egypt and his family would look to him for protection.
The young man, Joseph, had it good. His father loved him and gave him a special coat as an expression of favor. Work was easy. Checking up on his brothers was Joseph’s only real responsibility. There was no rebellion in his life, nor any evidence of a sinful lifestyle that would displease God. But Joseph wasn’t mature, nor was he the type of person to be a great leader. A life of blessing was all he had. Though his life would prove that God was his focus, his life wasn’t heading in the direction of God’s best for him.
God raised up enemies within his own house. His brothers grew to hate him and conspired to kill him. God’s plan will not be thwarted, so the murder plot dissipated when a band of traders passed by. They sold Joseph into slavery, and he ended up in Egypt as a house slave in a governor’s home.
The governor’s wife tried to seduce him, and when he refused her advances, she accused him of attempted rape. For three years Joseph was in a prison and forgotten by the world. In prison Joseph gained a reputation for accurately interpreting the dreams God gave the servants of Pharaoh’s court. One of the prisoners was released and served Pharaoh again, and for a time, forgot all about Joseph.
After many years, God used Pharaoh’s nightmares to remind the ex-prisoner of Joseph and he was called before the king. Through Joseph’s interpretation of the dream, he was promoted to the second highest position of authority in Egypt and he was able to prepare for a coming famine. When Joseph’s family came to seek food, God completed his plan in Joseph’s life and he was not only honored by his family (including the brothers who once hated him), but God used him to deliver both Egypt and Israel.
Joseph’s words to his brothers summarize it best, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”
This is how we must think upon our hardships. Whether it is an enemy rising up, or a hardship turning our life upside down, God is behind it. On the surface it may appear evil, but if you belong to Christ, God is working good. That’s why the Bible says that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose . If you are walking in His purpose, no circumstance will fall short of God’s goodness. Those who remain faithful will see the end of God’s mercy and will soon thank God for His perfect will.
This also is how David encouraged himself in difficult times. Look at his meditation in Psalm 63:6-7
6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.
7 Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
We first remember, then we consider what God is doing, then we rejoice. If biblical meditation is part of our life, we will already be aware of God’s goodness. We remember our salvation and how God intervened in our lives. We remember the hand of God we have seen in the past when He revealed his goodness in other situations.
Since we know He is our help, and we know we are covered by the shadow of His wings, we can rejoice in the midst of any situation. Though pain may not create joy, the knowledge of God’s goodness does. We rejoice knowing He is truly looking for our good. And this life isn’t the only good. This present life is a speck in eternity. To miss out on something here to gain something better for eternity is not a sacrifice.